You can never miss a Predators - Wild matchup. These two teams always seem to play an up-tempo, exciting, hotly contested game. They're typically very enjoyable to watch. Tonight was absolutely no different.
Tonight, Guillaume Latendresse showed what having a true power forward can do for a team, when the guy is willing to use his size, and exercise his will on the opposition. On numerous occasions, Lats either drove to the net to make a play, or forced a turnover by taking the body, or used his power down low to keep a play alive. He was snake bitten, hitting three pipes, but that didn't stop him from getting the third Wild goal of the first period and forcing the play in overtime on the Andrew Ebbett winner.
It's nice to see guys like Ebbett and Latendresse fitting in so well right off the bat. After he game, Ebbett was asked how he's fitting in with the Wild and he said "I wasn't having fun in Chicago, and haven't had fun playing since the playoffs last season. I'm having fun with this team" and that's the key to me. He looks like he's having fun out there, and it's contagious. Ebbett, Latendresse, Brodziak and Clutterbuck are providing enough energy to spark the guys like Mikko Koivu, Andrew Brunette, Antti Miettinen and others. They are clearly feeding off each other, and it's showing. The Wild have points in each of their last five games, and seem to be clicking offensively. Now, if we can get the defense to catch up (and that means forwards paying attention to their defensive responsibilities too) then we can really see what this new system can do.
Please read the game recap over at On the Forecheck
Hockey Wilderness Three
Questions to Answer
- Are the Wild going to be rusty after the time off? They got off to a decent start, then fell asleep for the second period, then came roaring back in the third.
- With Jordin Tootoo back in the lineup for Nashville, will he get under the skin of the Wild, and can someone please knock his teeth out? Tootoo's antics were absent. I like that. The only real scuffle was the boring fight between Wade Belak and Derek Boogaard, which looked like two enforcers looking to prove they still belong.
- Will taking Chuck Kobasew off the first line affect his great play since moving up there? Kobasew was a -2 tonight. He definitely needs to find a line and build some chemistry.
- Will moving Martin Havlat to the fourth line send a message, or will he find good chemistry with Andrew Ebbett? Didn't really notice Havlat much, but with Ebbett and Latendresse, the Wild found a great combo platter.
- Will the cutting of the mustache be like Samson cutting his hair? Definitely not offensively. Too bad the defense was beyond poor tonight.